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Hazing On College Campuses: What Is Hazing?

By: Renee Charles Email
By: Renee Charles Email

Alan DeSantis is a professor and Greek faculty adviser at UK. His book "Inside Greek U" is an in-depth look at how the system works and what students who are a part of it go through.

His research for the book came from the three years he spent living with fraternity and sorority members UK to see how they work and what they do. He conducted focus groups and interviewed hundreds of members.

He was a Greek himself and has been a faculty adviser for over 20 years to numerous different chapters.

He says most of the Greek organizations are social groups and their primary goal is to have fun, bond with each other and create sisterhood and brotherhood.

Unfortunately, the words hazing and fraternity seem to go hand in hand: but what is hazing? To simplify, it is coercion or anything that requires a pledge to do something another member would not do under normal circumstances and situations.

When most people hear the word hazing they automatically think of hate based hazing which DeSantis says includes things like sleep and food deprivation and excessive alcohol or binge drinking. He says hell week is a perfect example of hate based hazing.

"It's a time when members come up with ways to be as mean as they can to pledges," he said.

But DeSantis says other forms of hazing can actually have positive effects, like working around the house or property. All those participating have to work for a common goal and they have a chance to bond while doing it.

In his research, he says sororities typically don't haze. But he told us he has had sorority members come say they wished they were hazed at least a little bit, because they feel it would have helped them bond with their sisters better. He says many openly admit they don't have the bond like fraternity brothers do because of that.

He says if a fraternity, or sorority for that matter, is run correctly, students can get a lot out of being Greek

"I've seen people come through here starting out awkward, shy, stupid and become senior members who are transformed and smart and connected with memories and experiences they'll remember forever," he said.


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